Tag Archives: short stories by Nicanor Gabunada

The Mongoose

Mongoose
Mongoose (Photo credit: Bryn Davies)

I only know of two mammals that can fight and defeat snakes: Cats and Mongooses.  When we were living in the barrio, I witnessed a fight between our pet cat  and a snake. At another point, while sleeping at night, we woke up to the noise created by our pet cat and later on we saw him with a snake on his mouth. The snake may have climbed into our house and cat who was there promptly fought with the snake.

The other animal is the Mongoose which are well known for their ability to fight and kill venomous snakes, particularly cobras. They are adept at such tasks due to their agility, thick coat, and evolved acetylcholine receptors, which render them resistant or immune to snake venom. 

I also witnessed one such fight, although, in a snake farm located in  the outskirts of Bangkok.  It is one of the attractions for tourists, where a cobra is pitted against a mongoose. 

It is against this backdrop that I share with you this short story of a woman and her pet mongoose.

 

A woman had a pet mongoose. It was very faithful. One day she went to the market, leaving her baby in the care of the mongoose. At that time a big cobra entered the house. The mongoose killed it after a long and fierce fight. When the woman came back she saw the mongoose lying at the entrance. She noticed its blood-covered mouth. In her haste the woman thought that the mongoose had killed her baby. In a moment of sudden fury, the woman threw the water pot on the mongoose and killed it. Alas! When she entered the house she was filled with remorse. Her baby was playing cheerfully. Nearby a big cobra lay dead. The woman shed tears of grief fondling the carcass of the mongoose. 

 
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The Alarm Clock

alarm clock, bought from IKEA
An Alarm Clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The alarm clock is only useful if you follow what you wanted it to do for you,  that is, to wake up as soon as it rings. How you react to an alarm,  especially if  you personally set it,  is a reflection of your personality.

Designed to Remind Us to Wake Up

An alarm clock is designed to make a loud sound at a specific time.  These types of clocks are used to awaken people from their night's sleep or short naps.  They are sometimes used for other reminders as well. To stop the sound, a button or handle on the clock is pressed; but most clocks automatically stop the alarm sound if left unattended long enough. A classic  alarm clock has an extra hand or inset dial that is used to specify the time at which to activate the alarm.

With modern technology, digital gadgets have added the alarm functions to their capabilities. So alarm alerts are now standard features of  wristwatches and cellphones.  Many cell phones feature built-in alarms that do not require the phone to be powered on for the alarm to go off. Other cell phones feature the ability for the user to set the tone of the alarm, and in some cases music can be downloaded  to the phone and then chosen to play for waking.

But the way man interacts with the "alarm clock" remains the same, as when it was first used – to warn people about certain thing sthat they have to do once the alarm sounded.

So here the gist of the message I am trying to convey today:

We set our alarm clocks to a certain time before we go to sleep. We  want to wake up early enough so as not to be late for work or for our early morning rituals.

But waking up and starting to prepare for work or commencing our morning  routines are two different things.

When the alarm rings, we immediately push either its stop  or its snooze button.  We do not want to get up: we either want to go back to sleep or we just like to stay  in bed.  In some instances we even forgot that we were the one who set the alarm. And foolishly curse  it: saying it is still too early or  that it has goben off sooner than the time it was set, etc.  

But what most of us do is to re-set the alarm to a later time.   And when it rings again, we hit again the snooze or the stop button. And goes back to sleep beacuse it is still too early.

Yes, with the help of an alarm clok, all of us can really wake up early.  But waking up early does not mean rising up up from the bed early.

Because we seem to have a lot more time, if we feel lazy.

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How to encourage a young child to do well in school

The Bike Story

The boy was six years old and the following day would be his first day in school.  He was watching his father clean the bike — the bike his father rides when he goes to work.  He imagined the places he can go if he will learn how to ride one.  He will go to the barrio and race with his cousins; to the sea to swim and to watch the ships and the boats pass by;  to the market to see what new goods the vendors from the city are selling.  The bike will bring him to so many places.

He asked his father, “When can we buy another bike?”

The father looked at him and said ” Not immediately. Probably after we shall have paid for the sewing machine your mama got on installment ”

That was not the answer the boy wanted to hear. So, he went straight to the point , ” Is there a way I could own a bike?”

To which his father immediately retorted: “Oh yes, there is. But that is something you will have to work on.”

The boy got excited, looked at his father and asked: ” How?

And this was  the father’s answer:

“Tomorrow is your first day in school. All you have to do is to study well, listen to your teachers, and do your homework. If you are able to do this, then you will most likely be the top student in your class.  And you know what? Every year that you will get the first honors ribbon you will earn as prize a certain part of the bike.

For  grade 1, you will earn  the complete  frame including all its components: the top tube, the down tube, the seat tube, the seat stay and the chain stay;

For grade 2, you will get the saddle area comprising the saddle and the saddle posts;

For grade 3, you will get the front set –which includes the handle bar grip, the head tube and the fork;

For grade 4 , you will get the pedal, the crank arm, the chain and the chain rings;

For grade 5, you will get the front wheel — spokes, hub, rim, tire and valve;

And by grade 6: you will get the back wheel — spokes, hub, rim, tire and valve.

So, if you will be first honors from grade 1 to grade 6, you will have earned all the parts needed  to assemble a  bike! “

Every year, the boy reminded his father about the bike parts he has earned. And every year,  the father  told him how many more parts he  has to earn to complete the bike. There are days when they passed by a bike store or watched other people’s bike and talked about how better the boy’s bike will be, when fully assembled.

Every year from grade 1 to grade 6  the boy got  the first honors of his class.   He graduated valedictorian from elementary. But he never got the bike he wanted. His father met an accident and was bedridden for the next 3 years. In fact, he had to work after school hours to help earn money for the family.

But by this time, the boy had already learned the proper study habits.  The bike was no longer his motivation for topping his class. Rather, it was to maintain an academic scholarship  in order to finish his  studies. He graduated valedictorian in high school.  He got a full college scholarship with board and lodging allowance and eventually, graduated valedictorian in college.

He got a good job and could have bought for himself  the best bike his money can buy. But he did not.  Instead, he bought his father a good bike, and a pick-up.

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